Where We Left Off: Roll A Six – Rushmore Plaza Civic Center played host to yet another fierce game between the Rush and the Denver Cutthroats. The Rush, looking for their sixth win in a row over their geographical rivals, needed a second period comeback and more than 65 minutes of play to finish off the Cutthroats. Denver would start off scoring during a string of four-on-four hockey, with Troy Schwab capitalizing on a Bobby Preece turnover behind the net to make it 1-0 6:27 into the game. Before the period ended, Cutthroats defenseman Steve Kaunisto would fire a shot from the point through traffic in front of the net and give the Fish a 2-0 lead with 2.5 seconds left in the opening frame. The Rush would come back in a catastrophic second period, with Justin Faryna potting a rebound off of a Riley Weselowski pass and a Scott Wray shot to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 14:46 left in the middle frame. Then things got out of hand. With 9:16 left in the second, Denver net-minder Kent Patterson would dive across his crease to stop a shot, but then proceed to be landed on by some of his own teammates. With bodies flying all over the crease, Konrad Reeder found a bouncing puck and sent it home to tie the game at 2-2. As Patterson argued with the officials, everyone on the ice grabbed a dance partner and multiple fights broke out. After the fracas subsided, both teams went back to the game, only to finish regulation still in their 2-2 deadlock. Overtime would not be enough for either team to settle the score, so a shootout would suffice. Jared Brown and Jesse Schultz would each score on their respective shots, with Brown notching credit for the game-winner, and rookie Keaton Hartigan stopped all four shooters en route to a 3-2 Rush win over the Cutthroats.
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting – Both the Rush and the Cutthroats are bitter rivals, and they made a point of showing that out on the ice last night. At the 10:44 mark of the second period, right after Konrad Reeder tied the game up at 2-2, pandemonium broke out in front of the net of Denver goaltender Kent Patterson. 38 penalty minutes were assessed after all was said and done, with one 10 minute misconduct for fighting, two 5 minute majors for fighting, seven 2 minute roughing minors, and one 2 minute minor for an instigator called. All in all, there were four fights through the first two periods, as Justin Sawyer, Winston Day Chief, Bobby Preece, and Eric Giosa all dropped the gloves.
Rook to King 1 – Rookie goaltender Keaton Hartigan was awarded CHL Goaltender of the Week earlier this afternoon, his first professional award. Hartigan had an incredible weekend, winning both games against Denver, allowing 3 goals and making 61 saves in both Rush wins. He becomes the second Rush goaltender to win the award, with Tim Boron earning those honors in the second week of the season.
Perfect Shooters – The Rush played in their fourth shootout game of the season, and their first one at home on Saturday. With their win, they are now 4-0 in shootout scenarios, with Jared Brown and Jesse Schultz going a combined perfect 6/6 on their attempts. Keaton Hartigan went 4/4 for the second time this season, and is 8/8 on the year in the shootout.
Following the Leaders – Every time the Rush play the Cutthroats, players representing the top five of each statistical category in the CHL showcase their abilities on the ice:
· Garrett Bembridge (1st in Goals, 28; T-1st in Points, 58)
· Konrad Reeder (2nd in Goals, 24; T-5th in Points, 50)
· Jesse Schultz (T-2nd in Assists, 41; 3rd in Points, 53)
· Troy Schwab (T-2nd in Assists, 41; 4th in Points, 51)
NUMBER CRUNCH: VS the Cutthroats – With this being the final game of the series for now, let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing numbers from the last weekend:
· 19 – the number of penalty minutes assessed to Daniel Barczuk in the second period brawl. As mentioned earlier, 38 minutes were dealt out, meaning half of them belonged to the Denver forward. He received a 10 minute misconduct for fighting, a 5 minute major for fighting, and two 2 minute minors for roughing and instigating.
· 1 – the number of power play goals scored by the Cutthroats this season. The Rush penalty kill has been stalwart since the Missouri series, not only holding Denver scoreless on their last six power plays, but knocking their power play unit down to 2nd in the league coming into tonight.
· 130 – the number of penalty minutes assessed in the series. Denver owns 91 of those penalty minutes, which include a combined 45 minutes in fighting penalties.
We’re Going Streaking! – Three Rush players are carrying statistical streaks into tonight’s rematch with the Cutthroats:
· Jesse Schultz – assists and points in his last four games (2 G, 6 Ast, 8 Pts)
· Konrad Reeder – points in his last four games (3 G, 2 Ast, 5 Pts)
· Winston Day Chief – points in his last four games (3 G, 2 Ast, 5 Pts)
· Keaton Hartigan – six consecutive starts in goal (3-3-0)